We are about to witness a massive cold front hit Southern Maryland and stick around thru Christmas. Here are some helpful tips and what to expect from your heating system. Depending on the type of heat source you have, I came up with a quick list of things you should look out for.


Heat pump systems

  • Heat pumps are going to struggle with theses temperatures. With the moisture that’s going to be present, the defrost cycles are going to struggle and will be cycling every 30, 60 or 90 minutes depending on your configuration and will most likely stay in defrost for up 15 mins each time. Auxiliary heat is essential during defrost and sub-freezing temps. Once the temps get around 25-30 expect your heat pump to run continuous with your aux heaters switching on frequently. This is when the defrost cycle will run every hour and start to become less effective if it cannot clear all the frost during that 15 min defrost cycle. Around the 15-25 degree mark the frost will not go away and heat pumps will lose a lot of their capacity. When the temps start getting below 10-15 consider switching to emergency heat mode on your thermostat. This switches off your heat pump and runs the auxiliary heaters 100% of the time. At that point your Aux heaters are already running 100% but your heat pump is barely producing any heat and drawing 10+ amps for no reason.


90+ Condensing Gas furnaces

Gas furnaces should easily keep up with these temperatures so just let them roll. Here are some tips to keep them running with these temps.

  • Condensing furnaces or 90+ furnaces will produce condensation. I see a lot of these drains start to freeze up if they are pumped outside. If this happens you can temporarily move this drain to a wash sink or a bucket or install some heat tape where the drain goes outside.
  • If the Exhaust flues exit the side of the home be mindful of the exhaust gases as they will start to freeze as they exit the termination kit. Sometimes there could be a bird screen that will completely freeze blocking the flue gases which can cause a dangerous situation. Check this frequently in sub-freezing temps.


Oil furnaces

  • Oil furnace systems is another source of heat that will have no issue keeping up in these temps. The biggest problems I see in subfreezing outside temps is the fuel delivery system in general. Exposed oil lines and tanks suffer the most. If your oil lines are exposed before they enter the home its best to wrap them in pipe insulation and install heat tape. Oil lines that come out of the bottom of the tank are also susceptible to freezing if moisture is present or gelling of the oil. Wrap these up and install heat tape. Also keep those oil tanks full as much as possible. If you need oil delivery, call our friends at Ridgell oil @ 301-373-2070